Following Dan's lead, I offer the Americana Mix, free to all takers:
1. Carry Me Ohio -- Sun Kil Moon (6:21)
2. Foreign Lander -- Tim O'Brien (4:36)
3. Rock Salt and Nails -- Buddy and Julie Miller (4:16)
4. Bandages and Scars -- Son Volt (3:22)
5. Bible Song -- Lori McKenna (3:48)
6. Party Time -- Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell (3:24)
7. The Living Bubba -- Drive-By Truckers (5:56)
8. If I'm Gonna Sink (I Might as Well Go to the Bottom) -- Neko Case (2:54)
9. Sandy Ford (Barbara Lee) -- Jim Lauderdale (4:48)
10. Killing the Blues -- Malcolm Holcombe (3:32)
11. In Town -- Todd Fancey (4:19)
12. When the Earth's Last Picture is Painted -- Milton Mapes (6:00)
13. Take It Down -- John Hiatt (4:00)
14. If the World Should End in Fire -- The Handsome Family (1:09)
15. Wondrous Love -- Ann and Phil Case (3:17)
16. Beyond the Shore -- Willard Grant Conspiracy (3:14)
A little commentary: I love country music -- at least the kind that emanates from some holler in West Virginia or some honky-tonk in Blue Collar, U.S.A. Can't stand the Gnashville variety. This mix is heavy on the first two flavors, with big-time twang, distorted electric guitars, and weeping pedal steel well to the forefront.
Those of you with astute ears or who paid attention to '70s rock will pick up on my Neil Young fixation. What can I say? I'm a sucker for whiny, nasal vocals and loud, distorted guitars. To that end, Sun Kil Moon, Son Volt, Drive-By Truckers, Milton Mapes (that's a band name, not a person, kinda like Jethro Tull, only louder and rootsier) and John Hiatt fit the bill quite nicely. I also love the classic sound of male/female country duets. Think George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Johnny and June Carter Cash, and Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Here, Buddy and Julie Miller, Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell, and Columbus' own Ann and Phil Case carry on the tradition. Lori McKenna, Jim Lauderdale, Neko Case and Malcolm Holcombe have soul oozing out of every pore, and the sound of their voices is enough to send me into paroxysms of delight (you don't want to be around me when this happens; I hear paroxysms are contagious). Todd Fancy plays in the indie rock band The New Pornographers. Here he sounds like a cowboy Brian Wilson, with his triple- and quadruple-tracked Beach Boys harmonies. Love that pedal steel, too. The Handsome Family are a strange lot; I love this song, though. Apocalypse Now, yeehaw!
Finally, Tim O'Brien's "Foreign Lander" is an Irish Folk song as transplanted to Appalachia, and goes back a few hundred years. It's one of the prettiest songs I've ever heard. There's a reason why some of these songs last hundreds of years. "Beyomd the Shore" is a special song for me. I listened to it a lot during the time my brother-in-law was dying of cancer about a year and a half ago. I don't know his religious convictions. I know he loved his wife and kids, and I know he knew something of shame's great load. So I played this song for him and prayed this song for him during those dark months when he was dying. Now I pray that I'll see him again beyond the shore.